FL Gov. Promises $1 Billion to Education
article by Florida Teacher | January 18, 2012
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that he will be adding $1 billion in new education funding during his State of the State address, saying that education is a key component in bolstering the state’s struggling economy.
"On this point, I just cannot budge. I ask you again today to send me a budget that significantly increases state funding for education." Scott said. “This is the single most important decision we can make today for Florida's future.”
To boost the education budget without raising taxes, Scott proposes to reduce the rates that the state pays to Medicaid programs, a move that has been criticized by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers.
The planned budget increase also has some of the funding already earmarked toward certain education issues and restoring earlier budget cuts.
Around $190 million of the budgetary increase will go toward paying for 30,000 more students who are expected to enter next year. And another $220 million will go toward a 3 percent drop in property values.
This recommendation comes to many as a reversal because of the $1.3 billion budget cuts that Scott made just one year earlier, and has garnered criticism from Democrats around the state.
“The bottom line is that we would still be funding education at a level hundreds of millions of dollars less than we did in 2007 if the governor’s proposal is passed. It won’t make up for the $1.35 billion that the Legislature cut from K-12 education last session,” State Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, said in a newsletter to constituents.
However, during the speech Scott explained that as he met with parents around the states, they resoundingly were in favor of bolstering education support.
"Floridians truly believe that support for education is the most significant thing we can do to ensure both short-term job growth and long-term economic prosperity for our state,” Scott said. “That's why this session I ask you to continue your commitment to education - to ensure that the difficult decisions we must make on the budget are focused on prioritizing the things we all know are essential to the future of our great state."
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